■ Taiwan Strait
Singapore sounds off
Singapore's prime minister warned yesterday that Taiwan's push for independence is potentially the "most dangerous" problem threatening stability in the Asia-Pacific region. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (李顯龍) described "three potential flashpoints" in Asia, including North Korea, Kashmir and in the Straits of Taiwan. "Of these, the cross-strait situation is potentially the most dangerous," Lee said in a speech at the APEC Summit in Santiago, Chile, according to a government statement. "A miscalculation or mishap may cause the [cross-strait] problem to escalate and spiral out of control, setting back the whole region and the world," Lee said.
After holding talks with China's President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤), Lee said they both "agreed that moves toward independence for Taiwan posed a serious threat to regional stability," the statement said.
A UN-affiliated Non-Governmental Organization International Cultural Conference opened yesterday in Taipei. Scholars from home and abroad, including Holland, Hong Kong, India, Japan and the United States, will give speeches and take part in discussions centering on cultural differences between the East and the West during the two-day meeting at National Taiwan University of Science and Technology. Recent surveys show that more than 80 percent of Taiwan's parents and teachers are worried about a rapid deterioration in social morals and ethics in recent years, a development that is also taking place in the West, organizers said, adding that the main purpose of the conference is to find ways to promote morals, culture and education.